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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Global warming: nothing to do with human action, an illusion, a minor irritant, a technical problem that can be managed by normal development, or the most serious threat to the world after nuclear war?

An urgent struggle: our tainted air

The deadliness of air pollution is all too often overlooked; a national action campaign is long overdue. 

Mapping women's resistance to social and ecological degradation

Women coming together to cross pollinate ideas and build understanding about differing burdens, responsibilities, and solutions is an essential part of worldwide efforts to restore the health of the planet.

Nepal: chronicle of a disaster foretold

The Nepalese earthquake was a product of natural causes. But the full death toll and slow recovery are not.

Climate-chaos migrants set to face increasingly closed borders

Climate change is set to trigger dangerously soaring temperatures this century, forcing many of humankind’s most vulnerable to migrate to survive. Yet the growing global obsession with border security will stifle their safe movement.

After the demonstrations ...

The popular outpouring in France, taken with the climate marches in September with which it would not at first be bracketed, may be a harbinger of change.

Latin Americans pay price for corporate environmental destruction

As the COP20 conference comes to a close in Lima, can the corporations whose ‘externalities’ foster climate change ever be brought to book?

Climate summit, climate justice

The climate summit called today by the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, will not bring the commitments needed to avert global chaos. Only popular mobilisation for climate justice can do that.

Climate and Indigenous Peoples: the real dispute at the UN

With both the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Climate Summit underway at the UN, far more important than official declarations will be who is allowed to speak and to be heard. Whose voice matters in this clash of worldviews.

Trapped by borders, a global flotsam and jetsam

They arrive nameless and unnumbered by land or sea but ever-more unregulated migrants across the globe are falling victim to proliferating border-security regimes.

Climate change and false gods: Moloch and the bible-punchers in the US

The UN's IPCC report on climate change calls for immediate action to deal with a crisis which supersedes and includes all other questions. Meredith Tax says that international pressure on the US government to deal with the crisis is essential, for soon it will be too late.

A different climate

Many new paths to climate action are being taken, with the global south in the forefront. Even modest support and publicity from their northern counterparts can bring huge benefits. 

Climate politics: a melting glacier...

A new political tone on climate change in Britain is matched by a breakthrough in understanding the retreat of tropical glaciers.

A flooded future: Essex to the world

Two floods, two eras, two worlds. The contrast between 1953 and 2014 in southern England is a lesson both in class and climate change.  

2014, a climate emergency

The accelerating pace of extreme weather events is an acute challenge to political leaders.

Sharing our future: how the world can avert climate chaos

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report calculated a ‘budget’ for greenhouse gas emissions  if global average temperature rise is to be contained within 1.5-2C. Amid fractious debates between rich and poor at the UN climate talks in Warsaw, Phil England spoke to Christian Aid’s expert, Mohamed Adow, about how countries could agree to share the remaining allowable emissions.

The IPCC and new climate paths

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a unique public service that produces valuable scientific reports. But is yet another 1,000-page document what is needed now, asks Øyvind Paasche.

No control panel

Struck by malevolent storms our Sunday Comics columnist finds the ardour and expense of repairs compounded by the coordinated revolt of machines

The great tide of 31 January 1953

An enormous surge of water over the coastal lands of south-east England sixty years ago took hundreds of lives and marked survivors for a lifetime. A meticulous account of the tragedy written a few years later is still the best source to understand what happened, says Ken Worpole, a native of one of the places most affected, Canvey Island.

India Burning

When the rice harvest season finishes in a few weeks, fields in India will turn black as farmers burn thousands of acres. This practice shows one of the failures of the Green Revolution, with devastating regional and global consequences. A food-security-obsessed India cannot ignore these issues for much longer.

The politics of myth making: 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

Myths of human survival that evade questions of gender, race and social relations, won’t help us adapt in a world already being radically reshaped by environmental disasters and slow burning climate change, argues Agnes Woolley

Latest climate signs should jolt leaders into global action

Although climate change has seemingly disappeared from the global political agenda, recent signs show we're not that far away from disaster. What will it take for our leaders to finally act?

Making sense of the riots in Assam, India

The recent riots in the northeastern state of Assam between Bodo tribespeople and ethnic Bengali Muslims are creating a dangerous situation for the central government of India. There might be various solutions to this recurring conflict in Assam, but we must understand that at heart this is not a Hindu-Muslim conflict.

Isaac: the intemperate bastard

The latest messages from our columnist and friend in New Orleans

The death of a controversy?

Non-news about a "controversy" on life support, an inconsequential U-turn and the unfortunate fact that schadenfreude won't save the climate.

China’s big bet on green industry – and how it might green the world

After the failure of Durban, a promising plan B to reducing carbon emissions rests upon green development industrial strategies being pursued by individual countries. And here China is in the vanguard.

Water in the Arab Spring

Water scarcity in the Middle East & North Africa is at the root of the region’s uprisings. In the coming years, it will also be the source of further social unrest across the region.

Threat to opportunity: the new logic of climate policy

In the clutches of recession, the Ryanair chief executive may now breathe a sigh of relief as binding emission reductions seem further off than ever before. Now, the only thinkable solutions to climate change are those which also provide an immediate, tangible boost to economic growth. But can market logic provide the solution to this ever-escalating crisis?

Giant strides or fairy footsteps

How much progress can be made in tackling climate change without a global deal?

A low carbon future needs an industrial policy

The UK Chancellor (Finance Minister), George Osborne, presented plans for taxation and spending that pay homage to environmental concerns. But his measures rely on the mistaken belief that market mechanisms and other interventions are substitutes, not complements. (This article is part of an IPPR series more of which can be read here)

After Cancún: shifting climate gears

The loss of momentum in climate diplomacy reflects deep flaws in the way campaigners understand and frame climate change in relation to people’s lives and interests. There is both challenge and opportunity here, says Andrew Pendleton.

Laid low by the heat

The Russian heat wave has been going on for weeks. From her dacha Elena Strelnikova gives a wry account of officials on freebies, water shortages and the catastrophic effects of the lasting heat on fruit, crops, milk yields and life in the Orenburg Region in general.

The felling of bungalows, the building of Dhaka

The frenetic urban growth of Bangladesh's capital is transforming the lives of its inhabitants. But as Delwar Hussain describes in a rich and humane portrait, the process carries an epic social, environmental and historical cost.

(This article was first published on 21 August 2009)

Trust the people on climate change

While inconsistency with respect to climate change runs so deep in government policy, how can we expect people to behave differently?

Copenhagen: a successful failure

The Copenhagen climate-change summit has been widely portrayed as a failure. But in a deeper and longer perspective COP15 is an important milestone, says Joe Smith.

Does environmentalism destroy the world?

openDemocracy and Resurgence launch the Dictionary of Ethical Politics to explore how our political concepts can cope with the end of the limitless
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